2 new rare species of ants have been discovered in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, announced the Department of Science and Technology.
They belong to a rare genus known as Ooceraea. A total of 14 other species belong to this genus. These are distinguished based on the antennal segment count.
The recently found ant species have 10 segmented antennae unlike the 14 others. The one found in Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala has been named O. joshii in honour of Professor Amitabh Joshi, a distinguished evolutionary biologist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), a Department of Science and Technology Institute. The other species is named O. decamera.
Out of the 14 other ant species belonging to this genus, 8 species have 9 segmented antennae, 5 have 11 antennae and the remaining ones have 8 of them.
Only 2 of the 14 species had been discovered in India previously. The common locations for this genus are Australia, Oceania, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Madagascar, and the Carribean Islands.
The discovery was made by a team led by Prof Himender Bharti from Patiala University, Punjab. The study is published in the journal ZooKeys and can be accessed here.